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Nigerian Senators: Paragons of Honour and Transparency… Or Not? By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
Arts & Culture Issues Opinion Politics

Nigerian Senators: Paragons of Honour and Transparency… Or Not?

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By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman

The leadership of the Senate, oh what a shining beacon of transparency and integrity they are! Allegations of monumental scandalous fraud involving the insertion of frivolous amounts running into trillions of naira for fictitious projects? Well, who would have thought that our esteemed lawmakers could be capable of such shenanigans?

In December 2023, the national assembly passed the 2024 appropriation bill, increasing its size from the already hefty N27.5 trillion proposed by President Bola Tinubu to an even more bloated N28.7 trillion. Because, you know, what’s a few extra billion here and there, right?

And then along comes Senator Ningi, stirring up controversy by alleging that the 2024 budget was padded by a cool N3 trillion. Two budgets operating concurrently? Oh, that’s just how things are done in the hallowed halls of our national assembly, apparently.

But fear not, dear citizens, for the Northern Senators Forum has disowned Senator Ningi faster than you can say “budget padding”. Because when the going gets tough, the tough throw their own under the bus. Bravo, NSF, bravo.

And let’s not forget the rowdy session during plenary where the allegations were debated, leading to Senator Ningi’s three-month suspension. Because nothing says accountability like a temporary time-out, right?

But wait, there’s more! BudgIT, that pesky little organization, has come out with a report showing that the national assembly inserted a whopping 7,447 constituency projects worth N2.24 trillion in the 2024 budget. Personal interests over national significance? Never heard of such a thing!

And how about those 55 projects with a value exceeding N5 billion? Because who doesn’t need a multi-billion-naira project hidden in the budget, am I right?

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But fear not, dear citizens, for BudgIT is here to shed light on the dark corners of budget padding and indiscriminate insertion of projects. The federal ministry of agriculture and food security, with its 2,470 projects worth N632.31 billion, takes the cake in this absurd game of budget bingo.

So fear not, dear citizens, for your tax money is in the capable hands of our honorable senators. Just sit back, relax, and watch as they work their magic in the hallowed halls of the national assembly. Because when it comes to accountability and transparency, well, let’s just say they’re doing a bang-up job.

Well, well, well, here we go again with another mind-boggling revelation from the Federal Government of Nigeria. Hold onto your seats, folks, because this one is a real shocker. Brace yourselves for the 2024 budget allocations that have got everyone scratching their heads and wondering what on earth is going on.

Let’s start with the jaw-dropping allocation of N82.5 billion for 427 boreholes. Yes, you read that right – N82.5 billion for some holes in the ground that are supposed to provide clean water. At a mind-boggling cost of approximately N193 million per borehole, one can’t help but wonder if these boreholes are made of gold or some other precious material. I mean, come on, N193 million for a hole in the ground? That’s just ridiculous.

But wait, it gets even better. The government has also seen fit to allocate N212 billion for 1,150 streetlights. Yes, you heard me correctly – N212 billion for some lights to brighten up the streets. At a cost of N184 million per streetlight, one has to wonder if these streetlights come with built-in solar panels or maybe even a fancy light show. Because there is simply no way that a regular streetlight could possibly cost that much.
Now, let’s take a moment to reflect on the genius behind these budget allocations. I mean, who needs healthcare, education, infrastructure, or security when we can have expensive boreholes and streetlights, right? Clearly, the government has its priorities in order, prioritizing shiny streetlights over the basic needs of its citizens. Because let’s face it, what good is access to clean water or a quality education when we can have fancy streetlights to admire at night?

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And let’s not forget the recurring theme of transparency and accountability (or lack thereof) in the government’s budgeting process. It’s truly mind-boggling to think that the government needs to allocate funds for boreholes and streetlights year after year. One would think that once a borehole is dug or a streetlight is installed, it should pretty much take care of itself for the foreseeable future. But hey, what do I know?

he 2024 budget allocations for boreholes and streetlights are a shining example of the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and efficient use of taxpayer money. Because clearly, nothing says responsible governance like spending exorbitant amounts of money on unnecessary projects while neglecting the real needs of the people. So hats off to the government for another stellar performance in budget allocation. I can’t wait to see what other surprises they have in store for us next year.

Well isn’t it just wonderful to see how the government is prioritizing the needs of Senator Godswill Akpabio’s senatorial district? I mean, who needs food security for the entire country when we can just focus on one district, right?

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It’s truly heartwarming to know that over N18 billion Naira has been allocated exclusively for Senator Akpabio’s district. Because clearly, they must be in desperate need of such a hefty budget while the rest of the country can just fend for themselves.

And let’s not forget about the N2.5 billion Naira approved for ‘Deep Freezers’ in the Ministry of Women Affairs. Because obviously, that’s a completely necessary expense that couldn’t possibly be better spent on, I don’t know, actually helping women in need.

But hey, who am I to question the wisdom of our esteemed senators and government officials? After all, they must know what’s best for their constituents, even if it means neglecting the needs of the rest of the country.

So, hats off to Senator Akpabio and his lucky district for scoring such a generous budget. The rest of us will just have to make do with what little is left over. Because clearly, that’s fair and just. Right?

Oh, what a surprise! The Senate, known for its transparency and integrity, is now being accused of fraud and corruption. What a shining beacon of righteousness they have turned out to be! Who would have thought that our beloved lawmakers could stoop to such levels of deceit and dishonesty?

Oh, what a grand display of leadership and accountability from our esteemed lawmakers! It’s truly a sight to behold.

*Suleiman writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

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